Musicians are offered better deals for music distribution

SlothTHUMBPhoto by Skye AndersonSome independent musicians in Calgary say they make most of their money selling their albums through online services and at local shows.

But local record stores can offer musicians a better deal than some of those services — giving them a higher cut of the music sale profits and raising their hometown profile in the process.

Danny Vacon, singer of local bands The Dudes and HighKicks, says that selling his CDs online has given him the most sales.

Vacon says The Dudes latest album has sold more than 1,500 digital copies and HighKicks have sold over 500 digital copies — all on the online service Bandcamp, which only takes a 15 per cent cut.

But not all online services offer this same deal.

“I personally refuse to use iTunes,” Vacon says. “They take an insanely huge percentage. It varies from 30 to 50 per cent depending how big you are.”

But Vacon says selling his records and CDs at local record stores has also been valuable, in particular Sloth Records on 17th Avenue S.W.

“I love how supportive of local music they are. You walk on up them stairs, turn to the right and there they are — local new releases resting beside all your favourite band’s albums from around the world, not hidden in the back,” Vacon says.

Evan Van Reekum, an employee at Sloth Records, says they sell local music on a consignment basis, taking five to 10 records or CDs from the band to start with and making $2 as a stocking charge from every individual record or CD sold.HotWaxThe record store Hot Wax helps independent artists sell their music and get their name known. Hot Wax takes $2 from every record sold.
Photo by Skye Anderson

“The only thing we ask is that the band makes an effort to promote their product and let people know that it is here,” Van Reekum says.

Promoting projects is something the members of Outlaws of Ravenhurst, one of Calgary’s metal bands, knows a lot about.

The band used an online campaign to fund their first album, Book I, and take pride in self-promotion.

Outlaws of Ravenhurst also sell their CDs at Sloth Records.

“It’s just great to have your album out in sight where the casual music consumer might be reminded of your existence or discover who you are, simply by browsing his or her local record haunt,” says Dan D’Agostino, bassist for Outlaws of Ravenhurst.

Among the other stores that give local musicians a shot are Hot Wax and Melodiya Records.

Hot Wax starts with five records or CDs from the band, and takes $2 from every individual sale. By comparison, Melodiya will take three to five CDs or records and collect $1 to $5 from every individual sale.

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